Following the vegetarian lunch at Gyeongju, we moved on to our next destination, Anapji, a man-made pond area in Gyeongju National Park.
Part of the Silla dynasty's palace complex, the pond was constructed by the rulers for leisure purposes and to receive important guests. It was also said that towards the end of the dynasty, many citizens were too heartbroken to see their country die and instead chose to end their lives by plunging into the water here.
However, you don't really see much building structures remaining, leaving mostly pillars marks on the ground. This was due to the Japanese invasion where the intruders burned down pretty much of their historical monuments. A great pity, no doubt.
Next, we visited the park belt where most of the royal tombs were located. Shaped like domes, I personally couldn't tell them apart and reckoned that the bigger the dome was, the more important the person inside was. Conceptually similar to the pyramids in Egypt, I suppose.
We were not supposed to climb onto the tombs, of course, but I was told that naughty kids would use them as slides. Oh well, pardoned!
One of the king's tombs was excavated and reconstructed within to show what was found buried alongside the king, while the entire belt was certainly a good place for school excursion trips, as we spotted a teacher giving a live lesson to students in the park.
We also visited the Gyeongju National Museum to learn more about the Silla Dynasty. Frankly, I'm not a history person so there wasn't really much to say about the exhibits inside.
As for dinner, we made our way to a restaurant that served Gyeongju's speciality, Ssambap.
Literally translated to "Wrapped Rice", rice was served with vegetables leaves and many, many banchan (Side snacks). These banchan were refillable for free throughout the meal.
So much that I forgot what I ate already, really! Generally, they were more towards the salty side and went very well with rice. Somewhat reminded me of our Teochew Porridge.
The more memorable ones was like this stirred fried sliced pork in barbecue sauce. Despite using lean meat, it was very tender and flavourful. We also learnt that Kimchi could also steamed, so I was slightly more tolerant towards this version.
For desserts, we were served packets of Gyeongju Bread, which was really a kind of red-bean pancake that was soft and chewy, similar to Japanese Dorayaki (the ones Doraemon loved to eat).
And with that, we concluded all the field trips of ACCE! I'm sure there is so much more to beautiful Daegu as we had limited time to explore. If you want to see a different side of South Korea that is more laid-back and less city-bustling, Daegu might be a good choice!